What do booze, Bitcoin, and banks have in common? They all performed well during the pandemic and possess opportunities for growth as COVID-19 fades or even if there is a resurgence. Each of these industries provided consumers and business owners with a needed service in response to the personal and monetary influence of the virus and related lockdowns.
Alcohol and Delivery
Alcohol delivery firms such as Drizly grew rapidly during the pandemic, as consumers still desired to purchase alcohol but were limited by store closures and concerns about the virus. According to data from Nielsen, sales of off-premise spirits sales in the United States increased from 34.1% for the nine-week period ending May 2nd. The lockdown orders drove consumers to develop their own liquor supplies, with many turning to YouTube for cocktail recipes, and shopping online for mixers, shakers, and other necessary accessories.
Alcohol usage will remain a constant of American life after the pandemic fades. In the early stages of reopening, visitors will tentatively visit their old haunts while keeping an eye on coronavirus resurgences. Sites such as Drizly and other delivery services should continue to thrive, although they cannot keep up the same growth as during the pandemic, they are part of a broader shift towards online buying and the gig economy.
While booze and Bitcoin might not appear to have too much in common, the purchase of both during and after the pandemic is based on shifting customer behaviors and expectations.
Cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin ATMs
In the initial stages of the pandemic investors flocked to Bitcoin, as many see it as a safe repository, like gold. However, the interest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies also points to a broader shift in acceptance.
According to an April 2020 report from cryptocurrency market research firm The Tokenist, “Faith in large financial institutions has been steadily waning for more than a decade and the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this process,” the report highlights. “Bitcoin, itself, developed in the years after the 2008 market crash as an alternative to traditional assets and stands to be a major beneficiary of this trend.”
The move towards Bitcoin during COVID-19 also reflects a shift away from physical cash and credit cards which require interactions with employees or common-use pin pads. Bitcoin and other contact-less payment methods are attractive options for merchants and consumers who want to reduce touchpoints even as the pandemic possibly fades in 2021.
Making this shift possible are an increasing number of Bitcoin ATMs (BTMs) machines which provides consumers with instant access to Bitcoin and fiat currencies, with the same ease of use as traditional ATMs. Companies like Bitcoin Depot, with its network of more than 500 BTMs, are pushing forward with usage of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as viable and useful payment methods.
Finance experts have long said crypto is the future of currency, and Bitcoin ATMs are keeping up with the demand as one of the fastest growing industries in the world, regardless of COVID-19, due to the connection between underbanked communities and the crypto world. Bitcoin Depot and similar BTMs allow users to buy Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash instantly at hundreds of locations across the globe via quick, easy and secure transactions – replacing the need for a traditional bank.
Small Lending Banks
Regional banks are instrumental in processing and providing Paycheck Protection Program loans to businesses that offer payroll support during COVID-19. Studies and small business owner interviews point to smaller banks offering smoother application processes than the banking giants, as well as more direct customer service.
Banks with less than $10 billion in assets issued about 60% of the loans in the first PPP funding round, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). The smaller banks are also pushing for the PPP to alter its conditions to make loans under $150,000 to transition to forgivable grants, due to some of the burdensome requirements of the program.
Small regional banks are integral to the fortunes of the small businesses they serve. As economies reopen, these banks will continue to provide needed financing and counsel for struggling companies that were shut down for several months. The regional bank industry will need to adapt to new business models after the pandemic, including showing individual and business customers the industry continues to care about local communities and is an important ally in reopening and driving post-COVID-19 growth.
Video – Cryptocurrencies
Interesting related article: “What is a Cryptocurrency?“